News notes for November 14

Toughest golf course in the world

         In case you missed it, CNN carried a charming story about the only golf course in Afghanistan and its indefatigable owner, Mohammed Afzal Abdul (and, on some days, its only player).  The course, just outside of Kabul, is all hardscrabble and sand, with a little oil mixed in for the putting surfaces.  It has survived challenges no golf course in America has ever had to face, including the Russian and Taliban armies. 

        Words of advice to the owner of the course, now that he has been on CNN worldwide:  Copyright and put your "Kabul Golf Club" cap up for sale on eBay.  You'll make enough to plant grass greens.  Watch the CNN piece by clicking here.   Read a related article at CNN's web site (click here)



The 6th hole of the Ocean Course is one of 72 fine golf holes at the Amelia Island Resort.

Another golf resort files Chapter 11

        Amelia Island Resort, a perfectly nice golf and ocean resort near Jacksonville, FL, never garnered quite the attention as a buddy golf destination as did its northern competitors of Hilton Head Island and Myrtle Beach, nor the upscale cachet of a Kiawah or Sea Island.  When I visited the resort, I thought its golf courses well designed and laid out, but their turf pockmarked by uncaring traveling golfers who fixed neither divots nor ball marks.  I also thought the service around the bag drop was chaotic, the attitudes of the staff a bit brusque and the practice green between the clubhouse and first tee at one of the courses a joke -- enough room there for about four golfers at a time.

        When times are good and golf resorts crowded, such niggling criticisms don't much affect the revenue stream.  But that has changed since 2006, and this week, Amelia Island Resort's owners ran out of time, at least under its current organization.  The group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which gives it some breathing room to reorganize.  A local investor group reportedly is injecting money into the venture.  Here's hoping Amelia comes back healthy and stronger after a bit of pruning.


One rock forward, hundreds back

         We wrote here a few days ago about a recent rockslide near Asheville, NC, that took out a portion of Interstate 40.  As if on cue, work crews in Tennessee were removing one large boulder from Highway 64 this week, and videotaping their work, when tons more of rocks and trees slid onto the roadway.  Fortunately, no one was hurt, and the boulder crushing machine was safely removed before it was pulverized.  It makes for compelling video, which you can watch by clicking here.

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